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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Transnational regional society Kossuth, Donald


This thesis explores the phenomena of transnational regional society and its effect on international relations. It attempts to answer two main questions: What are transnational regional societies, and what can they tell us about the condition of the society of states? In chapter one, 'international society' arguments are reviewed to illustrate how transnational regional society has been ignored by that literature and to develop a normative theoretic approach to understanding cross-border, non-statist forms of human society. In chapter two, the transnational and regional aspects of these human societies are explored more fully, and as any wholly 'positivist' delineation of a 'region' is difficult, examples of transnational regional societies are identified not only by their congruence with economically- and ecologically-localized territory, but by the entrenchment of their primary norm: the pursuit of the 'better' life, understood as the human desire for heightened socioeconomic well-being beyond the basic safety, order and social welfare the state can provide. So defined, transnational regional societies help advance three important debates in international relations theory. First, they offer a novel approach to the 'nature of security' debate, for they necessitate a focus on socioeconomic as well as physical or Hobbesian security. Second, transnational regional societies shed new light on the 'democracies do not go to war' argument. Third, they help assess the relative strength of communitarian and cosmopolitan impulses in world politics. Chapter three explores these debates, arguing that transnational regional societies help confirm a healthy prognosis for the 'state' and 'society of states,' for as transnational regional societies require international peace and order to thrive, they do not undermine the norms of state sovereignty and nonintervention. In short, the notable degree of cosmopolitanism in transnational regional society will not fuel the decline of the society of states into one global society of humankind.

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